Crematorium roof collapse: NSA to be slapped against accused; NHRC seeks report within 4 weeks

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Lucknow/New Delhi, Jan 5 (PTI) Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday told officials to invoke the stringent National Security Act over the roof collapse in Ghaziabad that killed 24 people as the NHRC sought a report from the state government over the incident.

Meanwhile, police held two contractors, taking the number of arrests in the case to five. One of them alleged that he had paid Rs 16 lakhs to an official, who is also in custody.

Twenty-four people, most of them attending a funeral, were killed and 17 others injured when the roof of a shelter at the cremation ground in Ghaziabad’s Murad Nagar collapsed on Sunday.

In a statement on Tuesday, the UP government said, 'Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed that the National Security Act be slapped against the accused persons. He also directed that loss of public money during the construction work be recovered from the contractor and engineers.' The CM also announced an aid of Rs 10 lakh to the kin of each deceased.

Meanwhile, the NHRC issued notices to the UP Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police, seeking a detailed report about the incident within four weeks.

'The report must contain review of all crematoriums, burial grounds and other such buildings, which are used by the general public for community activities in the state and maintained by the local administrative authorities. The authorities concerned must ensure proper maintenance of such places to avoid any untoward incidents in future posing danger to human lives,' the statement issued by the commission added.

The rights panel said it has asked the state government, through its senior officers, about the present status of investigation as well as the condition of the injured.

Police too arrested two more accused in the case.

Contractor Ajay Tyagi, who went into hiding after the incident, was nabbed on Monday night near the Ganga Canal bridge of Sathedi village by a joint team of Murad Nagar and Niwari police, officials said.

Sanjay Garg, owner of AS Construction Company, was arrested on the basis of Tyagi's statement.

The Ghaziabad police had on Monday arrested Murad Nagar Nagar Palika Executive Officer Niharika Singh, Junior Engineer Chandra Pal and Supervisor Ashish as they were involved in the tender process for building the structure. They were sent to a 14-day judicial custody.

According tp police, Tyagi said he made Grag a partner in the project as he needed his fincnail help. The shelter corridor was designed to increase the construction cost so that a big amount could be misappropriated by officials, SSP Kalanidhi Naithani said in a statement.

Tyagi alleged that on the instruction of Junior Engineer Chandra Pal, he paid Rs 16 lakh to Executive Officer Niharika Singh at her office, the SP said.

Tyagi and Garg were produced before a court, which sent them to a 14-day judicial custody, said advocate Omvir Morta.

A tender of Rs 55 lakh was awarded to Tyagi for renovation and construction of the shelter three months ago.

Police said probe is underway to examine how much substandard material was used in the construction. After investigation, corruption charges will be added, he said. PTI CORR DV IJT RDM RDK